Summer adventures

I’m back from my summer trips and gradually getting back into the flow of work again. I spent three weeks at my parent’s house for no reason except that I haven’t seen them for a long time. Just as I predicted, it was a little surreal at first to be back in the UK after nearly a year away but I soon got used to it again, just as I’m not used to being back in Finland, although I think I’ve forgotten what little Finnish I learnt.

Even though I had several jobs come in during what was supposed to be my vacation time, it was still nice to relax a little, see my family, and have some proper meals cooked for me. (I’m back to eating nothing but macaroni.) Best of all was spending some time with this girl:

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My parent’s husky, Snow (or Lumi in Finnish or Sneg in her native Russian) was so excited to see me that she jumped up at me and almost pushed me out of the door again. But once she was over that, she went back to being grouchy that she wasn’t allowed any tidbits or that my parents and sister had to leave the house for their jobs. She doesn’t understand the basic ideas of capitalism and feels resentful when people’s lives don’t revolve around her.  Hence I managed to get a lot of good ‘grumpy Snow’ pictures:

 

She has an entire shady garden to lie in but chooses to lie underneath this table.

She has an entire shady garden to lie in but chooses to lie underneath this table.

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It’s still surprisingly hot here in Turku but since it’s near the end of summer the leaves are starting to change colour so it’s a strange mix of summer and autumn right now. I’m  hoping to get back into the swing of working now that I have more job offers coming in. It’s been almost a year since I moved here and I may be broke but I’m hanging in there, so that’s something at least.

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Spring update and photos

It’s been a while since my last post. In that time, spring has very slowly come to Turku and although it’s still not very warm and the trees aren’t in full bloom yet, it’s a nice change from the winter weather. I’m hoping that it will get warmer over the next month and that I’ll be able to go away somewhere and relax for Midsummer, which is an important holiday in Finland.

I’ve had a few good things happen to me this spring. I edited two full length manuscripts in the same month and had my first magazine publication for a Finnish language learners magazine. I’ve also gotten a part time book reviewer job contract and one of my articles on my writing blog was selected as a teaching resource.

Even so, the last two months haven’t been that great for me. Some of the things I was hoping to avoid when I moved abroad ended up happening. I didn’t handle them particularly well and I went through a bad period of anxiety and depression. Things are starting to improve now and something that does make me feel better is going out and taking photos.

Practicing photography was one of my new year’s resolutions and it came at a great time as I was asked to submit some pictures with my magazine article, so I guess I could say I’m a published photographer as well as a writer. Here are some spring pictures from the area near my apartment block. I foolishly forgot to take any of the same area during winter. Although it was a pain to get around during that time, it was at least very pretty. I’ll have to wait until next year to get those. Until then, enjoy some pictures taken on a much sunnier day than this one:

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A fishing wharf near my flat. I like to go there when I want some alone time to think, read, or pray.

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Random coloured things because why not. Clearly I still need to practice my photography because I spent ages getting the right angle and still forgot about the electricity pylons.

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Tiny daisies growing on the ruins of what I assume was once a church or temple. There are still religious services held there sometimes.

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Good news, everyone…

…I’m still technically alive!

Yesterday I reported on how much of a pain the ice is here in Turku and said I’d write about how I got along going out on my bike to go grocery shopping. Well, I’m alive, that’s one thing. A lot of the ice has melted since yesterday but there’s still a considerable amount still on the ground and no nice soft snow to walk on.

The journey to the supermarket was awful and I ended up either walking my bike or riding through puddles half the way. I thought that the puddles would be safer since the ice had already melted. Even though, like most people, I’m slightly broke at this time of year, I bought more food than usual so I don’t have to go out again for a long while.

The ride back was surprisingly not too bad, since:

  1. The weight of the groceries on the back of my bike gave me more balance.
  2. We did what we probably should have done before and stuck to the main roads which were mostly gritted, even the steep and very long hill.
  3. Those two factors gave me more confidence.

It was only once I got closer to my apartment building that I started having to walk my bike very slowly and carefully and it was then that I realised why I had such a hard time yesterday – Nobody has bothered to grit any of the pavements near my apartment. There were plenty of people around there having just as much of a hard time staying upright as I was.

Still at least it’s the weekend now and my fiancee’s making a cake right now so I can spend the whole weekend watching Star Trek in my pajamas. Next time I’ll write a post about the poet Runeburg and why he has a cake named after him.

Winter’s F***ed Up

This song really sums up how I feel about the Finnish winter right now. At first it was pretty and I got to take a lot of nice photos. But now that it’s constantly snowing and thawing and snowing again here in Turku, the ice is becoming a real problem. Fresh snow is fairly easy to walk on and makes a funny squeaky sound when you step on it, but the ice and slush that comes afterwards is making my life very hard.

All I wanted to do today was go to the supermarket and get some sweets for my fiancee’s birthday. I tried going by bike like I usually do but almost fell over three times in under a minute so I abandoned that idea. But that’s ok, I thought, a long walk will give me a chance to do some story plotting in my head. Barely 100 meters from my apartment door I almost slipped over on an incredibly mild slope.

This went on all the way to the store and back. I ended up going to a smaller store that was closer and stocking up on as many snacks as I could carry with the hopes of hibernating in my apartment until the ice thaws again. But we’re running low on food and I can’t survive off of sour cream and onion coated peanuts for three days so we have to go to the store again tomorrow. Plus Saturday is my fiancee’s birthday and he wants to go out to eat, which we rarely get to do on our own (and I have to satisfy my curry cravings somehow).

I suppose I’m lucky because I work from home but as anti-social as I am, I am still required to leave the house once in a while. Even though I’m assured that it’s very common, I feel like a giant idiot falling over in front of people who seem to be staying up right just fine.

I really hope the ice melts before tomorrow because we don’t have a car to get the groceries home and I’m honestly quite scared of cycling in this weather. I can’t even walk over an ice covered slope without having a panic attack. I’ll keep you all updated on how I manage.